Wednesday morning I could feel the knots in my stomach. They began early. After walking Moon and Copper and returning to the house, I wolfed down my cereal and fruit, showered and dressed before grabbing my water bottles and saying "see ya later" to the Prez.
Reeling with thoughts of how I should approach my workout, my mind toyed with the sequence of events. Deciding on my normal routine, I walked in and ran my membership card through the scanner. Taking a deep breath as I headed upstairs, my usual smile came across my face as I said hello and greeted the stationary bikers.
Before I knew it my thirty minutes on the elliptical was done. As I was wiping down the machine, my friend, Phil, came over. For the five years I've known him, he's always had something to say...a joke, a remark, a question. He's a great guy, retired, a few months older than I and we've shared a lot of time and stories over the years. In fact, he's the only man I know that talks so much and makes so much sense.
Heading now towards the weight room, I spotted Dale, another dear and trusted workout buddy. He and his wife, Linda, are my age as well. They are at such a "good place" in their marriage that I often ask for their opinion about different things. Good gravy, we've talked about well, just about everything...weeds, marriage, finances, housework, decor, activities, family and grandchildren. But as my conversation with Dale was coming to a close, I said, "Give me a hug even though I'm all sweaty. Today's my last day." Surprised, he took a step back, then reached out to give me a hug. Shortly after, he walked over and said, "we'll miss you. Can we still reach you at the same email address?" "Yes," I said, intentionally avoiding eye contact and walking towards the next machine. I didn't want to cry.
The resistance room was next and I could see my friends milling around in there, so once again, I drew in a deep breath and told myself you're doing good so far. I joked with Bill as usual and as I listened to one of his jokes, I wondered when I should break the news to him. Deciding to wait as others entered the room, I continued doing my sets on each machine.
Then Judy, another good, good friend spotted me and called me over. As I leaned down towards her face, she whispered, "is this your last week?" Nodding and looking her in the eye, I said " today is my last day." She drew in a deep breath and before she could say anything, I said, "You know I'll cry, so don't say anything. We've talked about this before." Smiling, she nodded and gave me a hug. Once again, I told myself you're doing fine.
Then Phil came over and while I was chatting with him, Jesse and his wife, I told the three of them. Bill and a few others were around as well. More hugs and well wishes and some personal advice from my friend, Phil, which he made me promise to take. I promised.
It was then that "The General" entered the room. Wearing his gray sweats and walking with his usual gait because of the cane he carries, my heart pounded. "The General" is in his early eighties. A few years ago, his wife died on their 50th wedding anniversary, my birthday and we've been close ever since. He is a wonderful, wonderful man and always greeted me with a big smile and a "Why hello there young lady" as I would tuck in the tag on the back of his sweatshirt. This was going to be a tough one, I said to myself. Finishing up on the machine I was on, I walked over to him and said, "Give me a hug."
Looking bewildered as he hugged me, he then asked, "What was that for?" Pointing to Judy, I said, "you tell him." She did. It was then that I went back over to "The General" and hugged him so tightly while answering his questions about when we were leaving holding back the tears as I spoke. He said what only a General would say and could say. He said, "Did we sign off on that?"
This past Wednesday was my last day at the Y.